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Thursday, February 17, 2011

RSA: "Act now on cyberwar"

News today from the RSA conference in San Francisco is a consensus agreement that "The time to act on cyber war is now…" Of course, nobody is really clear on what we ought to do about it beyond defining "…the right legislative framework…" You might have the temerity to ask, "What kind of framework?" Good question. After all, "The very nature of the Internet makes it hard to impose the same sort of rules that exist in the physical realm…" Alas, what are chances of a coherent solution, versus just waiting for the sky to fall in? The last line of the article would turn Mother Teresa into a cynic: "The odds are we, will wait…" Oh golly Miss Molly.

I hate throwing up these softballs. Legalized cyber privateers would be my short-term answer. Let the market monetize finding and correcting the problem. Two other stories today prove my point.

The first story, again in Compterworld: "China denies role in reported government of Canada hack." The most laughable quote in China's denial came from Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ma Zhaozxu: "The Chinese government is firmly opposed to hacking and other criminal acts…" If this were from a press conference, I'd have to ask:

  1. Did the Foreign Ministry Spokesman keep a straight face when he gave this quote? and
  2. Did the room break into laughter, or did the journalists just nod politely and look down as they wrote this ludicrous swill?
China is at the center of cyberwar activity. They're sure hammering my Linux box on a daily/hourly basis.

The second news story seems to prove, perversely and ironically, that allegations against China are well founded. I say "ironically" because China isn't mentioned at all. Symantec (Norton) is publishing a daily CYBERCRIME INDEX, wherein they use their supposedly vast resources to quantify sources of everything from ID theft to fraud to malware to spam. Who are the top-15 phishing sites? Notice the absence of China. And China is only number 9 on the worst BOT infected countries, although I suspect they appear there at all only because the people running those bots are…yep…based in China and probably operating under government sponsorship. Because as I contend in my post giving the IP addresses of Chinese attack servers, nothing goes on in China without at least tacit approval of the government. Of course, my appreciation of Symantec is eternal, as you can tell from the BigFix ad I did last year:
Just a few months after this ad ran, BigFix was acquired by IBM. Does IBM "get it" so to speak? Time will tell.


What do we do to prepare for (or wage, as many believe it's going on right now) cyberwar? 
  1. As I posted on Tuesday, our "Plan B" had better get the U.S. cracking on a redesigned, built-from-the-ground-up secure Internet replacement, before the lights go out.
  2. Change some laws to take off the handcuffs of people whose computers getting hit by cyber criminals and rogue governments.
  3. License a few test-case cyber privaters, provided they agree to and are bound by the cyber privateer code.
Period. 

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?